Democracy Reform

Sir Winston Churchill once said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest. He is right. Its the best form of government but it also has its flaws. I think that its flaws endanger democracy and needs to be fixed. This blog is for like minded people who want to see democracy improved. I invite people to sumbit essays. I will publish even those I do not agree with so long as I find them interesting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spiegel Interview with Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew

In an interview with Singapore's founder, Lee Kuan Yew, an answer to a question is relevent to this blog.

SPIEGEL: During your career, you have kept your distance from Western style democracy. Are you still convinced that an authoritarian system is the future for Asia?
Mr. Lee: Why should I be against democracy? The British came here, never gave me democracy, except when they were about to leave. But I cannot run my system based on their rules. I have to amend it to fit my people's position. In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Supposing I'd run their system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them. So I found a formula that changes that...


Lee has pointed out a weakness of Democracy which I highlighted in my first essay, Democracy needs a Reformation.

Votrepreneurs (politicians) will pose as champions of their ethnic groups and defend them against real or imagined threats, making democracy difficult or perhaps impossible. For democracy to work, you need a more homogenous population with the same race, language and religion. The west had since the end of the Second World War, largely homogenous populations making it easy for democracy to function.

But with the flood of immigrants coming in, I forsee tensions arising especially in Europe but less so in America. Race, language and religion are three sources of identity. If an immigrant has all three that are different from the host population, then assimilation is more difficult than another immigrant who has one thing different.

The immigrants the Europe are accepting tends to be from North Africa or Pakistan. They are of a different race, a different language and a different religion. America is fortunate in that their immigrants are mostly Hispanics and only differ in terms of language. So for them, assimilation only requires that the Hispanics give up Spanish and adopt English.

The Europeans are out of luck. A large component of their immigrants are Muslims who have a poor track record of assimilating and are being radicalized by a militant strain of Islam.

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